This week marked a historic moment for European integration. Last Tuesday, for the first time in our history, we gathered a Council of Ministers in the Permanent Structured Cooperation format: with 25 Defence Ministers, we agreed on the first seventeen projects for common European defence, and on a roadmap to move towards closer cooperation on research and development. We want to make Europe more secure, more autonomous and to strengthen our defence industry.
On the same day, with Defence Ministers from all 28 Member States, we met with NATO deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, to push our cooperation even further: EU and NATO have never worked so closely, with 74 common projects already in place. We also discussed all 16 European military and civilian missions. Here is my press conference after the Council.
The push for European defence and our ever stronger commitment on global challenges – starting with migration – are at the core of a new documentary film, Europe at Sea. Director Annalisa Piras followed our daily work for two years, and the movie was presented last Friday in Brussels. You can watch it here.
The movie catches the gist of our daily work – that is, to always seek opportunities for cooperation. Cooperation among our Member States, with our global partners, with multilateral organisations. Such as the Organisation for security and cooperation in Europe: last Monday I met their Secretary General, Thomas Greminger, to discuss the open crises on our continent – starting with Ukraine.
I will be in Kyiv today and tomorrow, in a delicate moment for the country – for the search of a solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and for the reforms the government has launched with our support. I will meet with the Ukrainian leaders, with the OSCE representatives working in eastern Ukraine, with civil society and the students of Kiev university. Over these four years, after the Maidan, the European Union has always been on their side, and it will continue to be with them.
And we will continue to invest in dialogue and cooperation as pillars of international relations. Talking about dialogue, this week we have finally seen a glimpse of hope in the crisis between the two Koreas. We will welcome to Brussels the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, next week for the Foreign Affairs Council (here is my statement).
But this was also a week marked by President Trump’s announcement of new tariffs against some European goods: I talked about it with our friends at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, in a conversation at their Brussels Forum – here is the video.
Some other important meetings from this past week: last Monday I met with Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, e and with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai; last Wednesday I hosted Skopje’s Foreign Minister, Nikola Dimitrov.
On the same day I also welcomed the Emir of Qatar, Tamin bin Hamad al Thani, to discuss the situation in the Gulf, and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, with whom I signed a cooperation agreement between our two Ministries (press release here). On Friday I met with Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili, and the World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva.
The main global crises were also at the core of my meeting last Thursday with the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, monsignor Paul Gallagher – in occasion of the second structured dialogue between the European Union and the Holy See (press release here).
This was also the International Women’s Day week. I was particularly glad to receive, on March 8th, the “Women of Europe Award” as “Woman in Power”, from European Movement International.